WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Child poverty group wins key case

The Child Poverty Action Group has won the right to take a case against the government’s discriminatory practices.

The group claims that the In Work Payment which will replace the Child Tax Credit next April as part of the Working for Families package disadvantages 300,000 children whose parents are on benefits or who can’t work enough hours to qualify.

The group has won the right to take its case to the Human Rights Review Tribunal. But Child Poverty Action spokesperson, Susan St John, told National Radio’s Morning Report on 28 November, there will be more delays because the government is appealing the tribunal’s decision.

The group began its action against the government legislation in 1996 and laid a complaint against new provisions in 2002.

The group is hoping that the Child Tax Credit and the In Work payment will be ‘declared inconsistent with the Human Rights Act.’

But Dr St John says there is then no legal obligation on the government to act. The group is hoping that the tribunal’s decision will have some standing with the government.

She said recent changes in the tax structure had lifted the families who were just below the poverty line above it which was great.

But some families who were further back are still no better off.

‘You can see this in problems with food banks and with children in low decile schools coming to school with no lunch, no shoes.’

Dr St John said the group applauded what the government had done. The Child Tax Credit was introduced in 1996 as an inflation catchup.

‘But precious little has been done in terms of working for families since. We are arguing please don’t leave the poorest children behind,’ she said.